TOKYO -- Korakuen Hall roared on
Saturday night as young prospect Kyoji
Horiguchi sunk in a fight-ending rear-naked choke on Hiromasa
Ogikubo to capture the Shooto 132-pound world title.
It was clear from the onset of the bout that defending champion
Ogikubo wanted nothing to do with Horiguchi’s vaunted punching
power, anxiously shooting for a takedown in the opening seconds.
Horiguchi saw the shot coming and managed to stay on top, pounding
on Ogikubo from open guard before getting overzealous and having
his position reversed. The champ quickly took mount and attacked
Horiguchi, but soon found himself standing up again. Post-fight,
Horiguchi expressed little concern about the dangerous position,
saying “I felt like if I stayed calm, I’d be ok in that
Ogikubo quickly dropped for another takedown attempt which
Horiguchi stuffed, throwing more punches as Ogikubo turtled to
defend before getting back to his feet. In the final seconds of the
round, Ogikubo was able to score a takedown, but made little
progress before the bell cut him short.
Round two started out much the same as the opening frame, with
Ogikubo shooting anxiously and being stuffed. Horiguchi put the
champion on his knees and pounded him with hard punches.
“I knew my shots were hurting him,” said Horiguchi. “He was turning
his head to try and make me hit the back of his head, and I thought
that was a pretty cheap move.”
Ogikubo weathered the storm of hammer-fists and returned to his
feet, where he immediately shot for another failed takedown. This
time, Horiguchi whipped around to the back, sunk in his hooks and
finished with the choke. At the 1:35 mark, Ogikubo tapped and the
new champion stood, smiling, as spectators screamed his name in
The win is the fourth consecutive for the 22 year-old, who has
brought himself some attention as a hot prospect with his powerful
finishing abilities. When asked what his next step might be,
Horiguchi said, “Of course, I’m aiming for the UFC, but I haven’t
thought about what I’ll do next yet.”
Yachi, a training partner of Horiguchi’s at Team Krazy Bee,
successfully defended his Shooto Pacific Rim 143-pound title with a
unanimous decision win over Sengoku veteran Yuji
Yachi used his lanky frame to pepper Hoshino with lunging punches
and hard kicks to the body over the course of the three-round
fight. Hoshino landed shots of his own, but Yachi’s speed and
constant use of feints was too much for the former Cage Force
champion. Hoshino’s lone moment of dominance came in the second
round; after slipping during a high-kick attempt, Hoshino quickly
scrambled and took Yachi to the ground with a double-leg takedown.
Hoshino quickly passed to side control, but was stopped there by
the bell. In the end, judge Hiroyuki
Kanno scored the fight 30-28 for Yachi, while judges Tanaka and
Suzuki saw it closer at 29-28, still giving the unanimous decision
to defending champion Yachi.
Shooto pioneer and UFC vet Caol Uno earned
an easy win over late replacement Kyu Hwa Kim
in their 143-pound bout, forcing the Korean to tap late in the
opening round to a rear-naked choke. Uno used his veteran wrestling
skills to take the inexperienced Korean to the ground and gain
advantageous positions before attempting submissions, looking for a
“Kadowaki Special” choke before settling for a normal, hooks-in
rear-naked choke. Referee Toshiharu Suzuki called a stop to the
fight after Kim tapped at 4:09 of the first round. The win is only
the third in the last 10 fights for Uno, who admitted to be in the
twilight of his career but claimed, “I’ve still got a little left
Former bantamweight King of Pancrase Manabu
Inoue fell to Shooto up-and-comer Kenji
Yamamoto by unanimous decision in their 132-pound bout.
Yamamoto spent the first two rounds defending Inoue’s seemingly
endless takedown attempts, putting the U.W.F. Snakepit product on
his back multiple times, but failing to do much damage. In the
third round, the flow of the fight changed completely and both
fighters decided to slug it out for the remaining five minutes.
Yamamoto got the better of the wild exchanges and came close to
finishing Inoue with a tight guillotine attempt. After 15 minutes,
judges Kanno and Suzuki scored the fight 30-27, and judge Tanaka
scored it 29-28, all in favor of Yamamoto.
Former champion Hideki
Kadowaki returned the Shooto ring, albeit briefly, only to find
himself on the receiving end of a 49-second knockout at the hands
Tanaka. The two fighters got into a wild exchange early and
Kadowaki ate a hard hook that put him on wobbly legs. Tanaka chased
the Wajyutsu Keishukai grappler around the ring before finally
landing the KO punch in center ring. Kadowaki was out before he hit
the ground, and referee Suzuki dove in to stop the fight only 49
seconds into round one.
Another Krazy Bee prospect, Masatsugu
Sakaki, survived a close guillotine attempt from Kenichiro
Togashi in round one, going on to win a close fight by split
decision after three frames. Sakaki used strong takedown defense
and superior striking to earn scores of 29-28 from judges Tanaka
and Suzuki, while judge Kanno alone saw it 29-28 for Togashi.
At 167 pounds, Yoichiro
Sato got the better of his striking exchanges with Kenta
Takagi over the course of their two-round fight, earning a
split decision win with 20-18 scorecards from judges Kanno and
Suzuki, though judge Tanaka scored the bout 20-19 in favor of
Shooto 2010 rookie tournament winner Yusaku
Inoue scored a flying-knee KO over 19-year-old Korean Dae Song
Park only 48 seconds into their fight, while Fumihiko
Kawamura earned a unanimous decision win over Yoshikazu
Fujiishi to start the night.